So, think porting Halo 2 from the Xbox to Windows Vista was easy? Well, it might have been easy I suppose. But the way this blog post from one of the developers goes, it sounds like some 22 month odyssey to get the in-game server browser going. Yikes. It is a fairly interesting read though, sorta "in the mind of the developer" type of thing. In any event, it makes for a good read into the Halo 2 Vista mentality they had while developing it. Here is a small portion of the blog post discussing the browser (among other features of the game):
So Kevin, what sort of planning went into the design of the game browser?
Before designing the game browser, we needed to understand the reasons why there should be one in the first place. The Xbox version has a pretty widely-acclaimed matchmaking system, so it would have been foolish to turn our backs on that without careful thought. Fortunately during design, we were able to work very closely with Max Hoberman (Bungies multiplayer lead for "Halo 2" for Xbox ), who had a good vision for the PC version and helped us shift the focus away from matchmaking.
There were many challenges moving the existing system to the PC. First and foremost, the Xbox version by design needs a lot of gamers to be online or the matchmaking waits can become really long. If the first people to buy "Halo 2" for Windows Vista had to wait 30 minutes to be set up for a simple match, theyd be pretty ticked off. Knowing that PC gamers are simply used to a game browser, we voted to make a change in the way players enter multiplayer matches. Typical PC gamers also like exceeding control over what theyre doing, while mucking with the advanced settings in any program which allows it. The game browser provides that advanced control, while assuring we get to choose the game to play. If there werent a browser, it just wouldnt feel like a PC game – it would feel like an Xbox game that was jerry-rigged to run on a PC.